Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life
Text by Jenni Sorkin
In a unique style that is both sensory and utopian, Yayoi Kusama’s work possesses a highly personal character, yet one that has connected profoundly with large audiences around the globe. Throughout her career she has been able to break down traditional barriers between work, artist, and spectator.
Kusama’s work—which spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures—has transcended some of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century, including pop art and minimalism. Conveying extraordinary vitality and passion, her work seems to encompass an autobiographic, even confessional dimension. As stated by Roberta Smith in The New York Times, “These paintings form a great big infinity room of their own, but one in which each part is also an autonomous work of art, its own piece of wobbly, handwrought infinity. You may not want to know these paintings Ms. Kusama has made, but in the moment their vitality is infectious. It is the vitality of an artist who lives to work, whose work keeps her alive.”
Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life documents the artist’s exhibition at David Zwirner’s Chelsea location in New York in late 2017, featuring a selection of paintings from her iconic My Eternal Soul series, new large-scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment, and two Infinity Mirror Rooms. The monograph includes new scholarship on the artist by Jenni Sorkin, as well as a special foldout poster.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Artists: Yayoi Kusama
Contributors: Jenni Sorkin
Designer: A Practice for Everyday Life, London
Printer: Trifolio, Verona
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 9 ¾ × 12 in | 24.8 × 30.5 cm
Reproductions: 65 color
Special Features: Includes special foldout poster
Retail: $70 | £50 | $550 HKD | €68
Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.
Jenni Sorkin is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History at University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University. She has written numerous in-depth essays on feminist art and issues of gender, and writes frequently on the intersection between gender, craft, material culture, and contemporary art. She has published and lectured widely as an art critic and curator, and is the author of Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (2016), which examines gender and postwar ceramics practice at Black Mountain College and other utopian communities. In 2016, she co-curated, with Paul Schimmel, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles, in which Yayoi Kusama was included.